Wine is so much more than a drink. For the winemaker, each bottle tells a coming of age story beginning with the grapevine—from the soil and light it received nutrients from to the harsh temperatures and weather it had to endure, countless factors play roles in determining how well its grapes will transition into wine.
For the wine drinker, there’s an added component of acquisition—maybe you purchased that special bottle on your first date with your now-partner, or perhaps it was a housewarming gift given to the two of you when you purchased your first home together. Whatever your treasured wine’s backstory, Open That Bottle Night on February 23 is the time to share it.
Always the last Saturday in February, this thoughtful holiday was birthed by Wall Street Journal “Tastings” communists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher in 2000. The husband and wife wine critics created the holiday to give wine lovers an excuse to congregate, crack open that special bottle you’ve been saving and share the story behind it. Let’s raise a glass to that!
If you want to plan an Open That Bottle Night party with your friends but don’t have anything sentimental worth sharing, visit one of Dan’s Best of the Best East End Wineries to pick up something great. When you do, really stop to think about the arduous journey from grapevine to bottle and if the winemaker is available, pick their brain for the full story. Knowing your wine’s history will help you appreciate it all the more, and it may even change the way it tastes.
The 2018 Platinum-winning winery is Jamesport Vineyards, a father-son collaboration that began in 1986. Wines currently available include 2017 East End Rosé, 2016 Cinq Blanc and 2014 East End Cabernet Franc. 1216 Main Road, Jamesport. 631-722-5256, jamesportwines.com
Gold winner Wölffer Estate is a Hamptons favorite, and its Summer in a Bottle is a staple at any beach house soirée. While the 2017 vintage is long sold-out, many others wines are available, including the Estate Rosé 2018, Grapes of Roth Virgin Berry Riesling 2017 and Fatalis Fatum 2015. 139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack. 631-537-5106, wolffer.com
Our Silver winner is Long Island’s oldest vineyard, Castello di Borghese. Wines available include 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2015 Afterglow and 2014 Merlot Select. 17150 Route 48, Cutchogue. 631-734-5111, castellodiborghese.com
The Bronze-winning Bedell Cellars is a major proponent of sustainable wine growing and adheres to 200 sustainable farming best practices to ensure the wellbeing of nearby wildlife, woodlands and marine estuaries. Available wines include Sparkling Rosé 2017, Blanc de Blancs 2015 and Musée 2013. 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue. 631-734-7537, bedellcellars.com
Tied for Bronze is Raphael, named after owner John Petrocelli’s father. The collection of wines available for sale includes White La Tavola, 2017 Chardeaux and 2014 La Fontana. 39390 Main Road, Peconic. 631-765-1100, raphaelwine.com